Why do I Run? Climb the Cargo Net

I am going to have an ongoing series of posts here on what inspires me. There are days when either it feels like there is no time or just no joy in the thought of going out for a 10 mile run. On those days it helps to think of a reason to run and I would like to share a few of mine. I’ll start with Chad Madden.

Chad in 2010

The first time I met Chad Madden was at a Fat Tuesday party. It was made very clear to me during our first conversation that he was living a full and adventurous life. Chad’s favorite pastimes include skydiving, base jumping, and numerous other things I personally do not have the guts to do.

Since that initial meeting Chad and I bumped into each other at work, parties, and even had the pleasure of running the Warrior Dash with him in 2010. Chad ran the entire race with a little bottle of Gatorade. He had emptied the bottle and filled it with  bourbon. I will never forget watching his failed attempt at flipping over the top of the cargo net that I was afraid to climb. I had been hesitant to put my first leg over the top, he apparently placed his hands on the opposite side of the net and tried to flip his body over the top. Chad and I are not extremely close friends, but I see a lot of myself in him and I admire a lot of the things he has accomplished.

March 9th of this year, Chad was in a sky diving accident. Skydiving is to Chad what running is to me. He is an experienced skydiver and was working with a coach in California the day of the accident. He broke his C2 vertebrae and has been left a quadriplegic.

Chad Summer 2012

During Chad’s rehabilitation, his family joined him at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. He was then transferred to the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond, VA where he is currently continuing his rehabilitation. Unfortunately in June, his parents home in Idaho was torched in a wildfire. The link below is an article by Emily Smith of CNN discussing both events:


The human spirit is an amazing thing. Chad’s family has gone through two traumatic life changing events this year. Yet through it all they continue to be positive and to rally around each other. Chad has requested consistently to be challenged and pushed by his doctors so that he can progress. His sense of humor and positive attitude while dealing with his situation has amazed everyone.

In addition to just being in awe of Chad’s resilience, I am damned proud of how the community has helped him and his family. Co-workers have donated leave hours and hotel points to help offset expenses.  A scooter is being raffled off with all proceeds going to help the family. A local yoga studio, that Chad attended, held a fundraiser in which they invited everyone to wear a ski cap to a hot yoga session (something Chad loved to do). And the skydiving community, which reminds me of the running community, has come together to raise over $8000. The amount of support that friends and total strangers have given him just makes me smile.

Last week I had the privilege of meeting one of Chad’s brothers at a local pub. I heard again how positive Chad remains. What I also heard though is that Chad plans on returning to his favorite hobby. Chad cannot wait until he skydives again. His brother, also a highly experienced skydiver, plans on jumping tandem with Chad when he is out of rehabilitation.

There are days when I do not feel like running. On those days, I sometimes think about Chad. To him skydiving is my running. If Chad could today he would be in Orange, VA prepping for a jump so, I need to put my damned shoes on and smile through my run. Also, life throws curve balls. I have been fortunate that my life and my health have allowed me to become an ultra runner.  I cannot take that for granted.

Here are a couple of links for Chad if you are interested in learning more of his story:



Next week I will finally be back to running. Should be lacing up the shoes on Monday and restarting my running streak. So stay tuned to actually hear about how my running is going. Also, thank you everyone who visited my blog in its first week. I received some great positive feedback and I just want everyone to know I am extremely appreciative.

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